What's the most effective way to help your child become a good reader? Start with a solid, phonics-based homeschool curriculum like Horizons and spend time reading out loud together. Although the Christmas season can get busy with baking, shopping, and attending holiday activities, the time you spend together as a family will create real holiday memories. Snuggle up and enjoy a book from this list of 12 Christmas favorites:

The Crippled Lamb
- Max Lucado
Little Joshua is different from other lambs. He doesn't have a dad or mom and can't run, jump, or play with his bad leg. He has spots others don't have and feels down on himself, until one night he has a unique role and purpose only he can fill. Ages 4-8.

God Gave Us Christmas
- Lisa Tawn Bergren
A polar bear shows her cub the northern lights, the northern star, the ocean, and glaciers. Through the mother's guidance, the cub learns how God loved us and gave us His Son on Christmas. Ages 4-7.

The Very First Christmas - Paul L. Maier
A mother answers her inquisitive child's questions as she reads from Luke 2. She responds to questions like why Joseph wasn't Jesus' father, why God chose Mary, why Christmas is celebrated on December 25, and more. Ages 4-8.

The Christmas Day Kitten - James Herriot
Before a stray cat dies, she brings her kitten to Mrs. Pickering for care. Living with her two old basset hounds, the little kitten thrives. Unlike the hounds, the kitten learns to retrieve a ball and set it at Mrs. Pickering's feet. Ages 4-8.

Christmas in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder
With winter just around the corner, Laura has worked hard with her family to get their little house ready for the cold days ahead of them. Although snow is on the ground, Laura, her sisters, and their old bulldog, Jack, stay warm and snug in the big woods of Wisconsin. Ages 4-8.

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies - Laura Joffe Numeroff
What would a mouse want next if you took him to the movies and gave him some popcorn? This delightful story uses a lighthearted approach to illustrate a sequence of events through an irresistible tale of holiday antics. Ages 5-7.

Christmas Day in the Morning - Pearl S. Buck
As the holiday season approaches, a young boy overhears his dad talking about how much he hates waking his son at dawn for morning chores. As a special gift for his father, the boy gets up early on Christmas morning to milk the cows all by himself. Ages 7-9.

The Christmas Barn - C.L. Davis
Roxie Dockery lives with her poor family in the North Carolina mountains during the Depression. When a huge tree crashes down on their house, the Dockery family refuses to let the tragedy ruin their Christmas celebration. Ages 8-11.

Louisa May Alcott's Christmas Treasury - Edited by Stephen W. Hines
"The Quiet Little Woman," "Kate's Choice," and 18 other Christmas sketches comprise this collection of Alcott's stories. Most of the tales are tied together by the theme of Christmas charity, including the yuletide benevolence of Marmee and her four girls in the excerpt from Little Women. Ages 8-12.

One Wintry Night - Ruth Bell Graham
An injured mountain boy is caught in a snowstorm at Christmastime and is taken in by a woman who lives in a log home built by the boy's grandfather. Snowbound, the pair becomes acquainted, and the woman retells the Christmas story beginning with creation. Ages 8-10.

"The Gift of the Magi" - O. Henry
Jim and his wife, Della, can barely afford their one-room apartment. As a young couple in love, they both buy the perfect Christmas gift for each other by sacrificing their most prized possession. Ages 10 and up.

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
This beloved Christmas classic follows the mysterious events that transform the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge into "as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man" as ever lived. Ages 12 and up.

As a homeschool parent, the greatest story you can share with your children is the wonderful message of Christ's birth and love. In doing so, you will hopefully give them a lifelong love for reading. As most homeschool parents know, the best way to accomplish that desire is to consistently read out loud to your children throughout the entire year. For more fun-filled readers and a selection of classics you're sure to love, check out Alpha Omega Publications' homeschooling resources today!

What Christmas books have you enjoyed reading out loud with your children and family during the holiday season? Share your suggestions in the comment field below.